Gardeners gather for biggest bloom event on record

Presentation of the Mayor's Award to Crescent Gardens. Fred Dinenage with Irene Buggle, Rosemary Harrison, Lesley Flett, David Merritt, Andrew Torrance, Annie Sayle, Elaine Martin, Gina Rowe and Sylvia Torrance

GREEN fingered residents are celebrating the fruits of their labour after winning the town’s biggest gardening competition.

The Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent In Bloom Awards, which are hosted by Gosport Borough Council and sponsored by Sodexo, received a record number of entries this year.

Kerry Littleales' Gold award-winning garden

Around 200 people gathered for the awards ceremony in Thorngate Halls in Bury Road, with ITV Meridian presenter Fred Dinenage hosting the awards, which have now been running for 21 years.

Kerry Littleales, of Russell Road, Lee-on- the-Solent, was the winner of two awards for best back garden and best newcomer.

She said: ‘It’s thrilling to win. We’re keen champions of the small garden as well as being passionate about recycling and encouraging wildlife.

‘The planting is a mixture of shrubs, perennials and bedding in a colourful and exuberant style, attracting bees and butterflies.

Kerry Littleales with Fred Dinenage

‘We have a pond full of newts with hovering damselflies, and a sedum green roof with a solitary-bee house.

‘Old rotten fence posts have been recycled to create the display stands for our collection of woodland-styled bonsais – and chimney pots from our roof hold our hostas.’

The mayor’s award was presented to the Friends of Crescent Gardens, who have nurtured the gardens for 26 years.

The mayor of Gosport Cllr Linda Batty said: ‘I am grateful for the commitment the Friends have shown over the years and that the community now benefits from this beautiful, peaceful space.’

Crescent Gardens

A new prize was also introduced into this year’s awards – the special recognition award.

This was presented to longstanding competition judges Peter and Jacquie Hardwick from Lee-on-the-Solent, who have announced their retirement after many years working on the awards.

The competition winners were as follows:

Best back garden: Kerry Littleales, Russell Road, Lee-on- the-Solent

Best front garden: David Harwood, Jellicoe Avenue, Gosport

Best hanging basket: Isabell Bourke, Glebe Drive, Gosport

Best balcony: Alver Quay, Gosport

Best business: Haslar Marina

Best retirement/sheltered housing complex: Langdale, The Avenue, Gosport

Best allotment: Richard Thorne, Western Way, Gosport

Best volunteer, community and neighbourhood: Crescent Gardens, Gosport

Best newcomer: Kerry Littleales, Russell Road, Lee-on- the-Solent

Mayor’s award: Crescent Gardens, Gosport

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